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Great Pyramids of Giza

Ancient Wonders of Earth

 

The Giza Pyramids

The Giza Necropolis stands on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. This complex of ancient monuments is located some eight kilometers (5 miles) inland into the desert from the old town of Giza on the Nile, some 25 kilometres (12.5 miles) southwest of Cairo city center.

The complex contains three large pyramids, the most famous of which, the Great Pyramid was built for the pharaoh Khufu and is possibly the largest building ever erected on the planet, and the last member of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. The other two pyramids, each impressive in their own right, were built for the kings Khafre and Menkaure. The site also contains the Sphinx, a monstrous statue of a part-lion, part-human, mysterious both in appearance and in its origin and purpose, and the Khufu Ship, the relic of a boat built to transport Khufu to the afterlife.

This necropolis, an amazing collection of buildings that were constructed to house the dead, reveals much about the civilization of ancient Egypt. Scientists continue to research and theorize about how and why they were constructed, and their true meaning to those who initiated them. For the general public, though, the sense of wonder and respect that they command may be sufficient.

Pyramid of Khufu

This Ancient Egyptian necropolis consists of the Pyramid of Khufu (known as the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Cheops), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren), and the relatively modest-size Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinus), along with a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as "queens" pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids, and most noticeably the Great Sphinx. Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre. Associated with these royal monuments are the tombs of high officials and much later burials and monuments (from the New Kingdom onwards), signifying reverence to those buried in the necropolis.

Of the three, only Menkaure's Pyramid is seen today sans any of its original polished limestone casing, with Khafre's Pyramid retaining a prominent display of casing stones at its apex, while Khufu's Pyramid maintains a more limited collection at its base. It is interesting to note that this pyramid appears larger than the adjacent Khufu Pyramid by virtue of its more elevated location, and the steeper angle of inclination of its construction – it is, in fact, smaller in both height and volume.

The most active phase of construction was in the twenty-fifth century B.C.E.. The ancient remains of the Giza necropolis have attracted visitors and tourists since classical antiquity, when these Old Kingdom monuments were already over 2,000 years old. It was popularized in Hellenistic times when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today it is the only one of the ancient Wonders still in existence.

 

Pyramid of Khufu

The Great Pyramid is the oldest and the largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now Cairo, Egypt in Africa. The only remaining member of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World, it is believed to have been constructed over a 20-year period concluding around 2560 B.C.E. The Great Pyramid was built as a tomb for Fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu (Cheops), and is sometimes called Khufu's Pyramid or the Pyramid of Khufu.

The structure is estimated to contain some 2.4 million stone blocks each weighing 2.5 tons, with others used for special functions deep within the pyramid weighing considerably more.

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carpclubspain
February 04, 2007

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Great Pyramid of Giza. (2009, March 29). New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:59, May 15, 2009 from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza?oldid=939476. Link to this site---Terms of Service---Privacy policy---Contact Us

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